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Mother’s Day is quickly approaching! As a busy mom, Mother’s Day can sneak up on you with the chaos of end of the year school activities, home projects, and travel plans. Moms have a heart of gold and do not have expectations of presents, but we still love the gesture of gifting to make the day special and show our appreciation for everything she does for the family.

“We read a lot of articles and books about how to get through the engagement process, but no one ever talked to us about what it would be like the first year of our marriage. I wish we had known what to expect,” said one of the couples my husband and I mentor. This is a common comment, and if you find yourself having similar feelings, do not fret! You are not alone. The first year of marriage is fabulous, but it can also be difficult. Two people learning to become one does not happen overnight.

We all like to think we have good manners in marriage, but with the people that are closest to us, we can sometimes find ourselves slipping a bit. As stated by Cindy Grosso of the Charleston School of Protocol, manners are not about a bunch of rules. Manners are the outward manifestation of the condition of our heart. If we have a heart that loves, honors, respects, and cherishes our spouse, then these traits will show in how we behave.

Society is opening and people are resuming long overdue vacations. This is great news! I recently posted some tips on making your travels successful, but let’s focus on dos and don’ts of traveling with friends.


1. Boundaries: When traveling with others, set guidelines, boundaries, and expectations before leaving town. If you know you and your husband want one night to yourselves, express this up front. If a quiet breakfast in bed is necessary to start your day, see if this fits with the group’s schedule. 

The world is opening, and it is time to celebrate! One of the first things people are doing as they exercise their recaptured freedom is heading out of town to new destinations. I thought a few refresher tips on travel might be good for all of us.

Walking into the room, my husband pauses in front of the TV. Turning to me with a spoiler alert about my favorite Hallmark movie he says, “Hey Lisa…they get married.” And you know what? He’s right! The girl found her prince charming, and the couple has a happy ending, every time.

How many mornings have we left home in a state of utter chaos? Breakfast was late, children were crying, and we hurriedly throw on clothes from the night before only to realize how wrinkled we look. This mad dash makes for an unpleasant parting from our family and it is usually caused by a disorganized approach to our routine. So much of the bedlam we experience at the beginning of the day can be avoided if we are willing to implement a few tasks the night before.

The mamor (mother-in-law) and damor (daughter-in-law) relationship is meant to be beautiful and strong. In parts 1 and 2 of our series we learned why women in these roles might have certain feelings in their new family dynamics. Once we learned the “why” we then explored practical steps we can take to strengthen these special bonds. As we bring our series to a close, I want to impart some words of wisdom we all need to hear, and be reminded of, to ensure we create a healthy, life-long bond between the mamor/damor.

In part one of our series on the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship we learned why the women who find themselves in these roles often experience emotions ranging from pure joy to hurt and sadness. Once we discovered the answers, our understanding of this special relationship came into focus. We had an “aha” moment which makes our path forward easier to navigate.

Do you remember the movie Monster-in-Law? It starred Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda in a romantic comedy centered around the tumultuous relationship between a bride and her future mother-in-law. If you have not seen it, you should. It will keep you laughing but, sadly, may hit closer to home than you would like to admit.

As Texas plunged into single digits with multiple days of a windchill below freezing, millions found themselves stranded with no power or water. Living along the Gulf Coast we have weathered hurricanes and endured power outages for much longer periods, but somehow this seemed different. Maybe for those of us close to the shoreline it was the unusual sight of snow we experienced as opposed to the natural disasters we usually face that arrive with rain, wind, and sweltering heat.

Our son and daughter (in law) were finally able to take a long-overdue honeymoon to St. Lucia in December. Cecelia interned one summer for a travel agent so naturally called the company to book their trip. What an incredible experience they had, and I was reminded WHY using a travel agent is worth the expense. Fees range depending on the service, but most charge between $300-350 to plan a vacation somewhere in the Caribbean Islands. 

Q: I will be a new mom soon, and I have been preparing for life “after” a newborn. There is a lot of information on raising babies, and how dads can support mom, but I cannot find much on how moms can support dads. A lot of my mental preparation has been around my marriage. Specific questions: How do I preserve my marriage? How do we embrace the changes? How do I maintain my husband as a priority when we have a tiny human demanding everything? How can I help my husband bond with our new child?

Want to set your children up for success? Then look no further than the habits of successful people you know, whether that be in the corporate world, media, or within your own circle of friends. Experts agree that there are certain common traits all successful people possess. This is great news because it means we can emulate those leaders that have come before us. 

Many of us grew up learning multitasking was a hallmark of a productive person. While sounding good in theory, this practice has proven to be incorrect. Studies now reveal that multitasking is nothing more than switching back and forth between tasks and it lowers our productivity. Below are 5 points that deal with the facts behind project hopping and the lack of performance that occurs when we allow seemingly innocuous interruptions to occur in daily life.

  • Lisa Lou

Image Matters

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

Which home would you purchase?

Which guy would you date?

Which books would you buy?

I recently asked a group of college students these questions showing them the same photos. I had them shout out adjectives for the pictures they were viewing. For the home I heard: beautiful; wealthy; cared for; loving family; some place I want to live. For the broken-down home they said: old; no curb appeal; I wouldn’t go near it; scary; unstable.

For the well-dressed man the descriptions were: successful; cares about himself; confident; knows where he is going in life. For the couch-potato man: unsuccessful; not motivated; a slob; poor; doesn’t care about anyone but himself.

For the two books, I am sure you can guess which one the students said they would purchase, and which one they would leave on the shelf.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” we grew up hearing. Well, guess what? Every one of these college girls just did (and I bet you did, too!). Image matters!

First impressions are formed within 2 seconds. Whether you speak with that person or not. We did not speak to the men in the pictures above, yet we already have opinions about the type of people they are. When a company wants to sell a product, they hire a marketing firm to create beautiful images that will speak to their customers. They try to create an image that makes you say, “I can’t live without that!” People are no different. When we market ourselves and show we care about our outward “package” we are telling others we take pride in who we are. Our image tells a story. The question is, what story is it telling?

A research study led by a Harvard professor revealed women in the work force who wore makeup were viewed as more competent, friendlier, AND made 10% more than women who did not wear makeup. This was not glamour makeup, but just enough to show they cared about their appearance. Too much makeup gave the impression the subject was not comfortable with herself and no makeup made people think she was anti-social. This study had NOTHING to do with whether people thought the test subjects were physically attractive. I want to make that clear. The result of the study: people that appeared to groom themselves and show pride in themselves were better received than those that did not.

If an employer sees a potential employee as someone that is well groomed, they will think, “If she takes pride in herself, then I know she will take pride in our company and represent us well.” Yet, the opposite is also true. If we do not show we take pride in the image we portray, a future employer may think, “If she does not take pride in who she is, then why can I trust that she will take pride in our company?”

Look at the below photos and ask yourself, “Where does my eye immediately go?”

Both women are physically beautiful, but in the first photo the eye is drawn to the triangle area of the woman’s face. Somewhere between the forehead and the neck is where the eye lands. In the second photo, where did your eyes go? For most, it would go straight to the cleavage!

As women, we want our appearance to say many things about us, but the most important thing to portray is strength in who we are as a person. How do we do this? Where is our center of power found? Answer: In the triangle of our face.

If we do anything to take a person’s eyes away from our face, we have lost power. When we arrive at an event not dressed appropriately, it does not make us look unique, it makes us look like we do not know what we are doing. And that, my friends, reduces our strength.

How we appear on the outside reflects who we are on the inside. I love the example Cynthia Grosso, owner of the Charleston School of Protocol, uses when she describes an iceberg in comparison to our image. She says the top of the iceberg that is visible makes up 15% of the entire formation. The other 85% of the ice is under the water and out of sight. It is not visible to our naked eye.

This holds true to our image, as well. How we portray ourselves on the outside is a direct reflection of who we are on the inside. Our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors (the hidden part of the iceberg) WILL be reflected in our exterior image (the visible part of the iceberg), which includes our appearance and our manners. Though the other person forming a first impression about us may bring their biases into the decision, they are forming their first impression based on what WE are telling them. Though we may never speak, we are communicating very loudly to that person what they should think.

“What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson. Your image is your resume in billboard fashion. Take pride in yourself. You are your own best advocate!

Together with you,

Lisa Lou